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Why You Shouldn’t have an Elevator Pitch

April 05, 2018

Why You Shouldn’t have an Elevator Pitch

You don't need an elevator pitch

Elevator pitches have been part of a typical sales tool kit for decades. But just because it’s been used doesn’t mean you should keep using it.

Why? Because elevator pitches are outdated and ineffective.

What’s wrong with elevator pitches?

Most elevator pitches list off specifications and features. But your customers don’t care about that. Your customers care about what you can do for them.

Elevator pitches don’t address a customer’s specific pain points or what your product can do to address them. And if a customer doesn’t hear what you can do for them in 30 seconds, they will hang up or walk away.

Think about this from the perspective of your customers. If someone calls you and they give you the same speech they just gave 20 other people, you can tell. And let me tell you, that doesn’t feel too great.

Continuing this pattern could be disastrous for your sales performance. As Dan Tyre said, “You’re only as strong as your network, so if you ignore what your prospect truly needs and only think of them as a number on a paycheck, you’ll steadily lose value as a salesperson.”

What do I do?

Now that you’ve thrown your elevator pitch out, it’s time to set up a new system to talk to customers.

The most effective method that I’ve seen is to identify possible pain points, and ask the customer if those apply to them. You can find pain points using prior experience with customers, buyer personas, or research on the individual customer.

This method is useful in two ways: it makes the customer participate, and it makes the customer feel heard. If you correctly identified one of their pain points, they’ll be happy. If not, they have the option to either state their own or end the conversation.

In any of these scenarios the customer has some control and input. This is a drastic improvement over an elevator pitch, because it’s a dialogue rather than a monologue.

Forming a dialogue with a customer allows you to gain more information and form a connection. And if the customer feels connected and listened to, they are much more likely to listen to you in turn.

To summarize:

Your generic elevator pitch will (at best) have a little impact on most of your potential customers. Why settle for that? When you personalize your pitch for each customer, you maximize the impact you’ll have.


This post is part of a series on sales. For more helpful articles like this one, read our master guide to sales. 


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